I thought of Tocqueville when I read the sentence stating, “Every grievance against the state (there always are many) leads to antagonism against the religious institution identified with the state.” See Democracy in America: “Religion cannot share the material strength of the rulers without being burdened with some of the animosity roused against them” (p. 297).
That’s one reason James Madison wrote the First Amendment to be the first amendment. Unlike Israel, a Jewish state that was built upon liberal democratic principles and experience influenced by The Enlightenment, Islamic nations and their so called constitutions will fail endlessly so long as they ignore religious freedom and democratic pluralism.
Berger’s concluding remarks about constitutionally weak institutions in Egypt perhaps signals an inadvertent step toward modernity in the Middle East. If pluralism not only means competing religious world views but weak institutional structures then the regime change in Egypt (sparked by a food shortage resulting from China’s demand for more grain feed to grow animals for protein) is also serendipitously resulting in modernization. As sociologist Max Weber pointed out, history is quirky and there are unpredictable “elective affinities” that arise. That a “conservative” military regime in Egypt paradoxically ends up inching the Mideast toward modernity is a story in itself.